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Monday, December 11, 2023

Chaudhry Fawad urges UN to guarantee availability of COVID-19 vaccine for developing countries

Chaudhry Fawad asked the UN's departments to make sure the poorer countries get the vaccine timely and it is easily accessible for them.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology appreciated all the efforts that international scientists and researchers have put in developing the recently announced Covid-19 vaccine, while speaking at COMSTECH for the World Science Day for peace and Development’. The minister asked the United Nation’s departments to make sure the poorer countries get the vaccine timely and it is easily accessible for them.

He also expressed how important science and technology is for a country’s development and the world’s future depends on the advancements of these sectors. Pakistan was completely dependent on imports when Covid-19 first hit Pakistan. Significant things needed to combat the virus such as masks, ventilators, and protective gear etc. had to be imported, the minister said. However, Pakistan quickly bounced back within the four months of the virus, and started exporting medical equipment needed to fight the virus to other countries.

Imran Khan calls for global efforts to curb Covid-19

The Prime Minster of Pakistan, Imran Khan, while addressing to the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Council of Head of States, urged the importance of global efforts to curb the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Humanity faces the possibility of a slow recovery and a prolonged economic slump with rising poverty and inequality,” said Imran Khan, while shedding light on the catastrophic effects of the virus.

Read more:  Pakistan: 2nd wave of Covid-19 imminent as cases shoot up

“Under the circumstances, the imperative of a common approach to limit the spread of infectious diseases, reduce the effects and develop potential remedies has increased manifold. Yet global harmony and multilateralism are undermined by rising geopolitical tensions, unilateralism and isolationism,” he added. “At a time when the world is bereft of global vision and shared solutions, SCO has called for effective multilateralism, with the UN playing a central coordinating role,” acknowledged Imran Khan.


The prime minister also urged that the Covid-19 should be affordable and accessible to all, especially the poor, developing countries who lack high-end resources.

Vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech

It was announced on Monday that a vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials. Protection in patients was achieved seven days after the second of two doses, and 28 days after the first, according to preliminary findings.


“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19,” said Dr Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Read more: Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in Phase 3 trial

“We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis.”

Vaccine not practical for Pakistan?

The vaccine is celebrated across the world for its effectiveness, developing countries like Pakistan are watching the events with helplessness and desperation.

According to Dr Atta ur Rehman, the Chairman of Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Science and Technology Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not suitable for Pakistan.

He said sounding pessimistic: “We should not think much about this vaccine, instead focus on other vaccines that are being developed and have seen similar results but haven’t been announced with fanfare. They are working quietly.”

The scientist made these assertions based on solid reasons.

“The problem is that the FDA has not given the approval, the regulatory bodies have to approve and will take two months,” said Dr Rehman.

Another major problem (quite justifiably) is the conditions to be ensured for the vaccine for e.g. a temperature of -80°C is required. Which, given the limited resources of Pakistan cannot be ensured. Moreover, the vaccine costs around 40 USD which is quite expensive given the rupee-dollar parity.

Read more: Why Pfizer vaccine is not for Pakistan?